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Asean Integration Could Mean Lots of Growth, Report Says

A Cambodian vendor cleans rice at her shop in a roadside market in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Cambodia’s economy could see major growth in coming years, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The country’s GDP could rise by 19.9 percent by 2025, according to the report, published by the International Labor Organization and the Asian Development Bank.

The report looks at how Cambodia and other lesser-developed Asean countries can take advantage of regional integration.

“The lower income Asean Country Member States in general see the largest increase in GDP relative to the baseline – in part as consumers and producers in these countries face relatively highly trade barriers and costs, and thus stand to gain most from increased international trade,” the report says.

The so-called “Asean economic community,” envisioned by regional leaders for early 2015, will allow for a freer flow of skilled labor, services, investment and goods among the 10 member states, the report says.

But countries like Cambodia, Burma and Laos will take years to reach that kind of potential. Independent economic analyst Chhay Sophal said Cambodia has much potential for growth, “as long as peace is maintained.”